By Mike Bedigan and Ellie Iorizzo, PA
Zendaya has said knowing Ronnie Spector has been “one of the greatest honours of my life” following her death aged 78.
The Ronettes singer, who was known for such 1960s hits as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You and Walking In The Rain, died on Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, her family said.
Sharing a black and white image of Spector on Instagram, Spider-Man star Zendaya said the news of her death “breaks my heart”.
The 25-year-old said: “To speak about her as if she’s not with us feels strange as she is so incredibly full of life.
“There’s not a time I saw her without her iconic red lips and full teased hair, a true rockstar through and through.
“Ronnie, being able to know you has been one of the greatest honours of my life.”
Emmy award-winner Zendaya said that she admired the US musician, adding that she could listen to her stories for “hours and hours” and she was “grateful” for the bond they shared.
She added: “Thank you for sharing your life with me.
“Thank you for your unmeasured talent, your unwavering love for performing, your strength, resilience and your grace.
“There is absolutely nothing that could dim the light you cast.
“You are a magical force of greatness and the world of music will never be the same.
“I wish everyone got to experience you the way I did.”
Zendaya concluded the caption adding that she hoped she made Spector proud.
Brian Wilson, Gene Simmons and Kathy Valentine are among the other famous faces paying tribute to the “iconic” US musician.
I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say. I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever.
Love & Mercy, Brianhttps://t.co/dXZKTMWv8a
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) January 12, 2022
Beach Boys co-founder Wilson, who reportedly became obsessed with Be My Baby, said he was heartbroken by the news.
“I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say,” he tweeted.
“I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart.
“Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever.”
Remembering Spector, Kiss bassist Simmons said: “RIP Ronnie Spector.
RIP Ronnie Spector. The iconic voice of the Ronettes.I was proud to have spent some time with Ronnie at A&M Studios, listening to her tell stories about the early years of rock ‘n roll. She will be missed. https://t.co/nKgJxT45cw
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) January 13, 2022
“The iconic voice of the Ronettes.
“I was proud to have spent some time with Ronnie at A&M Studios, listening to her tell stories about the early years of rock ‘n roll. She will be missed.”
Go-Go’s bassist Valentine thanked Spector for being “so freaking cool”.
this totally blows. fuck cancer. RIP the legend Ronnie Spector. Thank you for the music, for being so freaking cool. pic.twitter.com/RqKEWsZtrL
— Kathy Valentine (@Kathy_Valentine) January 13, 2022
“This totally blows. f*** cancer,” she said.
“RIP the legend Ronnie Spector. Thank you for the music, for being so freaking cool.”
Lord Of The Rings actor Elijah Wood tweeted: “Farewell, legend and music icon Ronnie Spector.
“I imagine Be My Baby will play on repeat across the globe today.”
Farewell, legend and music icon Ronnie Spector. I imagine Be My Baby will play on repeat across the globe today. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/mJKCjJ3yBx
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) January 12, 2022
Spector’s band The Ronettes, famous for their striking looks and powerful voices, were one of the premier acts of the girl-group era, touring England with the Rolling Stones and befriending the Beatles.
Her family said she had lived her life with “a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humour and a smile on her face”.
She is survived by her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.